Trademark Infringement

Trademark Infringement

November 08, 20235 min read

I made a mistake, so I want to teach you a lesson. This is a good reason to build that emergency fund by the way if you haven’t already done so… If you’re not familiar with this term “Trademark Infringement” it means a company is using a name, logo, design, etc. that someone else has already trademarked. The purpose of a trademark is to not confuse the audience. So if you have a McDonald’s with the golden arches, and a local MacDonald’s with very similar golden arches (offering the same burgers and fries type of food), don’t quote me but I’m guessing those golden arches would be trademarked and therefore, MacDonald’s would have a trademark infringement. Well, that just happened to me.

I was at a conference and in the discussion with a colleague over dinner, we realized that she has a program for her clients very similar to my brand name. You may be thinking, well Jennifer, your brand is not the exact same, so it is different. While yes, a similar variation by adding an “s,” “ed,” or “ing,” makes it a different word, because we offer the exact same service, this variation would confuse our ideal clients. If someone searched one of those names, they may not be clear which is the correct one they should be looking at. And that is one of the benefits of having your brand name, logo, program name, etc trademarked is so that nobody else can steal it and steer others to their business instead. Yes, she also had it first (already consulted 2 attorneys that say she is in the right). After a year of marketing my brand, I am now legally forced to change it. Eek!

However, I do want to point out, that the person from the conference loved how I came to her about the issue after consulting with my attorneys (versus waiting until she – or her attorney – approached me) and she was willing to work with me (thank you!!). So, while legally I am fine if I change my brand name soon, I was not expecting to ever change it honestly. But guess where this brand name is? EVERYWHERE!! It is my domain, my email, part of my logo, all over my website, social media, printed marketing materials, etc. And people started to know my brand! All of that must get updated or changed to the new brand name or I cannot legally use it. Yep, those banners I bought with my brand name on it for events – need to toss them (or see if a printer can update it somehow). Business cards, while usually are not expensive, I just bought a bunch.

On the bright side, this has opened my eyes to doing what I have been trained to do by many coaches and finally getting it done – narrowing a niche. While I am not going to go into those details now, I will say that this entire process has cost me money and time that I was not expecting. I needed to pay for an attorney to review the cease and desist. I must pay for another domain and email address, while still managing the old ones to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. I even need to change my social media posts that include my hashtag of my brand… and if I wanted to, I could hire a branding specialist to help with a new logo, rebrand my entire website, etc. But I am going to be completely transparent. I did not have the budget to do this! It is one thing to plan for a rebrand and set money aside to do it properly. But when you have a deadline to change your brand name (and might as well associate it with the new niche to reach the right target audience), you do not necessarily have the time, or money, to plan for it all.

And this is why having an emergency fund can be so helpful. I was able to use those funds to pay someone to ensure I am not only doing what I legally need to do to fix my brand name, but that I can trademark my new brand name (once I figure that one out – very soon!) so that I do not come across this issue again. And while everything may not be perfect, I can start to strategically plan the rebrand as I build up the savings to accommodate that plan. Here is my lesson for you: if you created a program name, logo, business name, brand name, etc., I highly recommend working with someone that can do the due diligence in ensuring you are safe. If not, hopefully you can get ahead of it before you are forced to (legally) change it. And if so, you may want to have them trademark your names too. But I’d at least find out now so you don’t spend over a year getting others to know your brand, and all of a sudden you need to change it due to a trademark infringement. If you want to know who I’ve been working with, please feel free to reach out and I’ll connect you. And I want you to know how important an emergency fund in your business can be when an “emergency” or unexpected cost happens that you are required to take care of. Oh, all while still operating our business and growing 😉

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Jennifer Perez

As a Profit Strategist, Jennifer helps business owners implement a cash flow management system which guarantees the business' profitability, ensures owners are compensated fairly and that they never have to worry about making tax payments again.

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About the Author

As a Profit Strategist, Jennifer helps business owners implement a cash flow management system which guarantees the business' profitability, ensures owners are compensated fairly and that they never have to worry about making tax payments again.

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